Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Moment of Sanity with a Dash of Pearl Clutching

I can't help but chuckle to myself as I read the following article:

California school district becomes latest to allow officers to carry AR-15s

It is good to see that some folks get it.  Long guns are the preferred tool for taking care of the bad guys.  To say that giving AR-15's to our law enforcement officers is "militarizing" law enforcement is absurd.  The military does not use AR-15's.  They use select fire (yes, Virginia, that means it's a ::gasp:: machine gun) M16 and M4 rifles.  Do they look similar?  Sure they do!  So does that mean a Ponticac Fiero with a Ferrari kit is an actual Ferrari?  Of course not.  And the fact that more people don't understand this is tragic.

Some of the anti-2A comments in the article border on the insane.  Really, cops having long guns in the trunks of their patrol cars makes it MORE dangerous?  You mean more dangerous than a nut job coming in guns blazing?  What kind of delusional Utopia do they think they live in where the cops shouldn't have the right tool to protect their babies?  The only thing that will wake these type of people up is if, God forbid, they find themselves being raped, beaten or attempted to be murdered.  And even, then, they'd probably have doubts after the fact.  These people can't be swayed and I would rather not waste my efforts on them.

But there are people out there that truly don't know the difference.  That being said, it has to be getting more and more hard to claim ignorance when there are literally millions of gun owners out there who DO know the difference.  If even half of them took the effort to educate and get people out to the range, then I would think more folks would see the logical fallacies of  firearms being "good for me (government), but not for thee (We the People)" mentality of semi-automatic weapons.  We will stay on the winning side of the 2A fight if we focus on these folks and treat ALL people with respect and reserve the vitriol for another day.

What have you done to recruit the fence sitters?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blog of the Week: Guns Save Lives

Some of you may remember last year I tried to post Defensive Gun Uses (DGU) on a regular basis to illustrate that guns are used far more often as a force for good than evil.  Guns Save Lives makes it their business to record such events.  I always direct people to their website when the topic of gun control comes up.  Mass murder, brutal assaults with guns, etc are almost always recorded because they are crimes by their very nature.  Thus, the subsequent police report, arrest record and conviction then becomes reportable as public information and into crime statistics.  It also gives the media a chance to gin up anti-2A sentiment when a shooting spree occurs.

Unfortunately, for those who champion the virtues of gun ownership and the right to bear arms, no such database exists.  The mechanisms that make it easier to record criminal gun use are not present for defensive gun use.  Many DGUs occur when the mere presence of the gun being presented scares off the assailants without a shot being fired.  Since lawful gun use is not a crime, then the gun use may not get recorded properly if at all.  Furthermore, not all lawful gun use is even reported.  If the person was not made into a victim, then they sometimes choose to carry on and do not report the incident.  As an aside, I generally recommend against not letting the police know that I used my weapon to scare off an assailant because criminals have been known to turn the tables and call the police on the person they just assaulted!

I respect what Guns Save Lives does because it is an attempt to build a record.  Keep in mind that the DGUs listed on the website are from verifiable media sources.  They don't include the several thousand incidents that never make it to print.

I encourage any fence sitters reading this that are hesitant about gun rights and/or gun control to read the stories on Guns Save Lives and then put themselves in the victims' shoes.  Ask yourself, what would you have done in that situation if you did not have a gun?   Or if you did have a gun, but only were allowed to have 7 rounds loaded into that firearm i.e. the New York unSAFE Act?  You may be surprised at the thoughts that pop into your head.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mountain Hiking Adventures

Once again, my family and I went to the Red River, NM area for vacation.  Last year we went during the week of the music and chili festival.  This year, there was much more hiking.  I got to try out some new hiking gear including a new pair of boots I had been breaking in prior to the trip.  I did five hiking trips in total.

Monday rolled around and the Red River Nature Trail was the hike I decided on for the day.  I was going solo for this one.  It was only a 2 mile hike and I thought it would be a good distance to shake out any gear issues in mountain terrain.  I was mainly concerned with my boots.  I threw on my day pack and walked from where we were staying over to the trail head by the ski lift.  The highlight of this trip was coming across a bedded down mule deer.  I came up over a small ridge and spooked it not 15 yards away.  I immediately stopped in the hopes of not scaring it further.  The deer got to it's feet and trotted off.   At this point I had come up to the ATV trails that lead to Goose Lake.  Ten minutes later, as I was coming down the ATV trails, I came across another mule deer (and I suspect it may have been the same one from earlier, but who knows) and was able to get a picture of it before it popped out of sight.

Not the greatest picture, but still was cool to see.  This was on the ATV trails coming down from the RR Nature Trail.
Tuesday we hiked up the Old Pass.  Round trip was about 5.5 miles.  We hiked up to the highest point, picnicked and then went back down the way we came.  There was not much excitement for this one.  This was probably my least favorite of all the hikes I took during this week.

Approximately half way up.  The upper valley is visible to my left.

Wednesday was the day for the "big one".  Our destination was Lost Lake.  My father and brother came along for this one.  The total mileage for this hike was 10 miles (5 up, 5 down).  We hit the trail head at 7 am.  I have done this hike several times over the years, but it had been a long time since the last time.  I had forgotten the great views while on this trail.

The switchbacks leading up to Lost Lake.  This was within the first 2 miles.

Out of the switchbacks.  About a mile and a half out from the lake.

We arrived after about 3.5 hours of hiking.  On a side note, my wife and I had planned on camping at this lake a few years ago, but never were able to.   The lake makes a good base camp and the fishing is great as well.  As we came up on the lake itself we saw about three camps setup with one being part of a boy scout group.  My father, brother and I sat down and enjoyed a nice lunch at 11, 500 ft.


Lost Lake Elevation 11,500 feet
We spent about an hour at the lake, but knew we had to start heading back down if we wanted to be home by dinner.

Thursday and Friday I hiked the same path, Columbine Trail.  The first was with my mother, father and brother and the second time was with just the wife.  It was approximately 3.2 miles round trip each day.

Hard to see, but there was a little rapid right by me.
It was a good week of some easy/moderate level hiking.  That being said, having the right items with me made the trip much more pleasant and it was good to give them a test.  The items below were ones I had not taken on a solid outdoor adventure prior to vacation.  I really had no complaints:

Tactical Tailor Fight Light Removable Operator Pack - The price is fairly high, but you get what you pay for.  The stitching and material are both quality.  I was able to fit my Camelbak 100 oz bladder no problem into the dedicated pocket for it. The main compartment easily held my lunch along with my "just in case" items if we were to find ourselves in a jam.  The straps are comfortable and cinch up nice and tight so that the little pack stays close to my back.  It is definitely only a day pack, but it's perfect for that use.

Merrell Sawtooth Boots - These were probably only needed for the Old Pass and Lost Lake hikes as the other trails were not nearly as rocky and uneven.  I did find that for my feet and the boot that I needed to lace the boots up in a way that kept my heel more secure.  This combined with the next item on my list kept my feet blister free.

Smartwool Sock Liners - Prior to vacation, I had been trying to break in my boots.  I wore them as often as was possible and walked on the treadmill when I could not get out the door with them.  I found that my heel was either forming a callous or blister (I am fairly certain it was a callous), but to be on the safe side I picked three pairs of these sock liners.  They did just the trick and kept my feet dry and gave me a "second skin" to mitigate any further foot problems.

Everything else I had used in the past and also performed as I expected them to.  I really enjoyed my vacation and highly recommend to anyone who likes to spend time in the mountains to go and visit this part of New Mexico.  You will not be disappointed.

What are some of your favorite places to spend in the great outdoors?  Share any tips or items that you absolutely swear by in the comments below.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog of the Week: PawPaw's House

I stumbled across PawPaw's House from one of the posts on Active Response Training.  Paw Paw keeps it short and to the point when it comes to commentary on current events.  He also shares some of his own family life experiences and has some great recipes that he posts up as well.  If you want an easy reading blog that provides some entertainment, then look no further.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Recommendation on Hand Cannons

I had a buddy contact me and another mutual friend by email asking for some advice about what to select for a home defense weapon.  I've rewritten some of it and my response to preserve identities (although, a lot of you probably know who I am).

My buddy wrote:

"I racked my brain for my favorite firearm enthusiasts and I came up with you two patriots. If I were looking for a pistol for home use (equal parts protection and shooting range fun), what would be some good options? Ideally, I'm interested in something that would be good for both my huge man paws and the wife's baby hands. Also, something that can use ammo that is widely available and affordable. I'm open to both revolvers or semi autos and would be interested in your opinions of each for the uses I've mentioned above. Go nuts, fellas."

I responded:

"This is probably going to be long, sorry.

I will come at this from a self defense standpoint vs. plinking, but will try and include some notes as it relates to range time.  My line of thinking surrounding home defense weapons goes something like this:

Rifles are superior to pistols for almost all home defense scenarios (save one: having to scoop up your children to get to your "safe room/area" where you would hole up and call 911, generally need a free hand to do so) and contrary to popular belief do not over penetrate walls any more (and sometimes less) than buckshot or pistol calibers.  Rifles are easier to shoot, "hit harder" and have greater capacity especially in the case of an AR.  Since you asked about pistols, then I'll stick to those, but just keep that in mind.

Reliability

If this is a defensive pistol first and foremost, then you're going to want reliability to be your number one priority.  That means revolvers and a select few semi-auto's.  Revolver's have the reputation of going bang every time.  Semi-auto's such as Glock and Smith and Wesson's M&P series of pistols are dead nuts reliable and are on par with the reliability of revolvers in my humble opinion. 

There is one advantage of revolvers that fall into this category.  If, God forbid, you're in a close range fight (i.e. the bastard is on top of you) and you tried to use a semi-auto for a contact shot, then you will probably end up causing it to malfunction due to the slide not being able to move freely though the firing cycle.  There's no such concern with revolvers due to the way they operate.

In my opinion, for pure reliability it is a tie between a revolver and a quality Glock or M&P (not including the contact shot scenario).

Nothing to really say in regards to "fun" shooting except that either one shouldn't crap out on you in the middle of a session.  If it does, it's usually a magazine or ammo issue.

Capacity

The tie breaker between the two, in my mind, is capacity.  Full size Glocks and M&Ps have two to three times the capacity that revolvers have.  

Capacity goes to semi-auto's.

Less reloading at the range as well!

Ergonomics

Reloading is a lot easier too with semi-auto's vs. revolvers.  Drop the magazine, slam another home, and rack the slide.  Boom, back in business.  They do make speed loaders for revolvers, but I have no experience with them and there just seems to be more "movement" involved to reload.  Not good in a crisis situation.

Also, you may want a weapon light (weapon mounted flashlight) on your home defense weapon.  Most semi-auto's come with "rails" to mount these lights.  There are revolvers out there as well, but not as many come with a way to mount a light.  A good light will allow you to operate the controls with your support hand so that your trigger finger is free to do what it needs to do.

Other Considerations

Since this is a home defense pistol, go as big as you can without sacrificing your ability to manipulate the handgun (i.e. your grip should not change when hitting the magazine release, slide release, etc) and being able to make quick follow up shots (about 1 second or less in between shots).  For example, when I talk about the size of the gun, I am talking about a full size duty weapon that the police would use.  Glock makes several 9 mm version handguns.  The full size is the Glock 17.  Glock also makes a compact Glock 19 and sub compact Glock 26 both in 9 mm as well.  If your wife is the limiting factor due to her hand size, then just be aware that you both may have a hard time controlling a smaller weapon due to the reduced weight of the gun i.e. recoil is more pronounced.  That may require you to go down to a smaller round.  My wife and I both have our own handguns because of this.

My Recommendation

Can you guess what I am going to recommend? 

Go with two separate pistols if possible.  If you're not wanting to do that right away, then you'll have to figure out something that works for both of you.  You'll probably end up sacrificing some capacity and gaining some more recoil in order to accommodate your wife being able to manipulate the pistol with a good firing grip.

If you're down for an arsenal (two guns is considered an arsenal on the West Coast, right?), then I would say that you would do fine with a full size Glock or M&P.  I suggest 9 mm because ammunition tech in the past few years has grown leaps and bounds and having the capacity of a 9 vs. 40 or 45 trumps any slight advantage of wounding capability.  The caliber wars will rage on, but that's my take.

For the Missus, since she probably has the same sized hands as my lady, I would suggest something like the M&P Shield.  It is a compact single stack 9 mm.  This means that it is smaller AND slimmer than most compact semi-auto's which are double stacked magazines.  However, this comes at a cost of capacity.  I believe the Shield can hold 7 in a standard magazine and 8 in an extended magazine.  An additional round can be in the chamber so I believe that means the max you could get with an extended mag would be 9 rounds.

How's that for an answer?  Let me know if you have any follow up questions."

So, what did I miss?  Comment and let me know.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blog of the Week: Notes From The Bunker

Notes From The Bunker is a prepper / survivalist website.  Commander Zero (the author) writes on various topics.  Recently, he was offering used Hardigg cases for a great price including shipping.  It is posts like this among other topics that keep me checking back on this blog every few days.  If you are into preparedness, then this is a great site to check out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Toledo, Ohio's Toxic Water Crisis

Would this be you in a crisis?
The crisis lasted about a couple of days:

Third day is the charm: Toledo can drink its water

Put yourself in this crisis situation and learn from it.  Would you have had enough clean water on hand to get through two days?   Boiling water only made the contamination worse since the source of the contamination was a toxin.  Also, consider that officials were warning to not let children bathe due to potential accidental ingestion.  That is a good amount of water that you would have to have on hand.  Now, multiply that out for a 7 day total.  Would you have enough to get you through that length of time?  Two weeks?  A month?

It's cheap insurance to run to Costco or Sam's and stock up on a week's worth of bottled water.  Factor in the amount needed to drink, cook with and for your own family's personal hygiene.  Then just start rotating it out on a regular basis.  If you like taking showers, then buy a camping shower and rig it up in your bathroom.

Your backup water and ability to purify water can be thought of as tiers.  One to two weeks of water can be in the form of bottled water.  Longer than that and you start to look at larger containers.  5 gallon food/water safe containers are great for portability.  55 gallon water drums are not very portable, but are an easy way to store water if you have the space.  Just be sure to fill them up using a marine hose like those used for RVs.  Standard garden hoses have some lead in them.  I personally do not treat my water with extra chlorine since it already is added by the city.  I would probably treat it once I was ready to drink it to be on the safe side, but I believe chances are slim that it would be contaminated anyways.  Having a water filter and/or water purification tablets in addition to having the ability to boil water is a pretty solid setup for purification.  If you keep bleach around the house, then that can be used as well.

So, got water?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Blog of the Week: The Bang Switch

I first ran across Tim's work on the Military Arms Channel on YouTube.  He, along with a few other writers, contribute to blog posts over on the The Bang Switch.  This core of the posts are guns and accessory reviews along with 2nd Amendment issues that are brought to the readership's attention.

Tim's reviews are one's that I trust.  You would be well served by going over to his blog and YouTube channel and checking out what he has to say.